At the age of 11, a Syrian table tennis player, Hend Zaza became the youngest athlete to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Hend Zaza became eligible for the upcoming Summer Games when she graduated won four of five matches at the West Asia Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Jordan. at the end of February, on the way to win the title in women’s singles.
Closer to home, wrestler Sonam Malik became the youngest Indian wrestler to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as the country clinched two spots in the Asian Olympics qualifiers in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
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As the Olympics draw near, here’s a look back at some of the athletes who made Olympic history, even in their teens and pre-teens.
Tara Lipinski of the United States is a former competitive figure skater, actress and sports commentator. She competed in her first Olympics at just 15, when she competed in the 1998 Winter Olympics. At the age of 15 and 255 days old, Tara Lipinski became the youngest ever winner of an event. in the history of the Winter Games by winning a silver medal in figure skating. She thus surpasses Sonja Henie’s record which until then spanned 70 years.
The US women’s gymnastics team won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The team, made up of Amanda Borden, Dominique Dawes, Amy Chow, Jaycie Phelps, Dominique Moceanu, Kerri Strug and Shannon Miller, won the gold medal in the women’s artistic team event.
The team was popular as The Magnificent Seven. The youngest member of the team was Dominique Moceanu, who was only 14 at the time. The gold medal made Dominique Moceanu the youngest athlete to win gold in women’s gymnastics.
The 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin saw the crowning of the youngest Olympic gold medalist in history. American springboard diver Marjorie Gestring won the gold medal in the 3m springboard at the age of 13. She beat up fellow American Katy Rawls to make history.
Before the Olympics, at the American trials, Gestring had come second behind Rawls. But in the final, Marjorie Gestring beat Rawls and defending champion Dorothy Poynton-Hill to win the gold medal.
Kim yun mi
At the 1994 Games, South Korean Kim Yun-Mi, just 13, won a gold medal in the 3,000m relay. With gold, Kim Yun-Mi became the youngest Olympic champion at the Winter Games. A year later, Kim Yun-Mi became the junior world champion and at the 1998 Games, Kim Yun-Mi successfully defended her title.
Nepalese swimming sensation Gaurika Singh competed in the Rio 2016 Olympics, aged just 13 years and 255 days. She was the youngest athlete to compete in the Games. Gaurika Singh won her 100m backstroke race before missing the semi-finals.
At the 2019 South Asian Games, Gaurika Singh won four gold, two silver and one bronze. For her constant show in the pool, Gaurika Singh was named to Forbes magazine’s ’30 Under 30 Asia ‘list for 2021.
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